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Sir Matthew Pinsent hits out at IOC ‘folly’ over Olympics

Tokyo no-go: Pinsent

SIR Matthew Pinsent says Olympic organisers are being unfair on athletes by continuing with the ‘folly’ of saying the Games will go ahead as scheduled.

International Olympic Committee chairman Thomas Bach said on Tuesday starting as planned on July 24 remains the organisation’s goal, despite much of the sporting calendar being decimated by the coronavirus pandemic and athletes voicing concerns about their hampered preparations. ‘It’s the IOC saying we must try and get through if we can, which I have a degree of sympathy with, it just runs counter to what every government is saying around the world,’ said four-time Olympic rowing champion Pinsent.

‘We’ve seen lockdowns across Europe and across Asia at different timescales but this is coming and the idea the Olympics are going to carry on regardless I think is folly. On a global front, we have other priorities and I think the Olympics should at the very least be saying we should postpone or indeed just cancel at this stage and we’ll talk about postponement later on.

‘I just don’t think there’s much of a choice at this stage. For much of the European countries as well as Asian countries, organised sport in any meaningful way has ceased and that’s from government advice.

‘I don’t see there’s any way forward for an Olympic athlete to train effectively. I just think it’s unfair. It’s unfair almost for the Olympics to say we’re going to carry on, the Olympics are still happening, we are committed to the Olympics in July, because there are two big forces in an Olympic athlete’s life, which is the Olympics and everything else and those two things are pulling in different directions.’